Obituary for Thomas "Tom" William Kelley | Ryan Funeral Homes
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Thomas "Tom" William Kelley

July 20, 1941 ~ June 23, 2019 (age 77)

Verona-Thomas “Tom” W. Kelley, 77, passed away peacefully at Agrace Hospice Care, Madison surrounded by his loving wife and family.  He was born on July 20, 1941 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the son of Elizabeth Edith Mullins and Elmer Joseph Kelley.  

Tom’s life work and passion was education. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1959. Tom received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He went on to receive his master’s in educational administration at Southern Oregon College in Ashland, Oregon. He was a teacher in Racine, WI for 5 years and principal in Montello, WI for 4 years. He was most proud of his work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the director of Educational Placement and Career Services.  For 28 years he advised thousands of students and alumni on career and employment decisions. Knowing the students and working with prospective employers to get the right student-employer connection was the nectar of his career. It is impossible to estimate the number of students whose professional lives have been established and advanced on the basis of Tom’s advice. This was the aspect of his work that Tom found most meaningful. He was awarded Emeritus Status upon his retirement.

Tom had many professional highlights which include being the co-founder of the Wisconsin Educational Recruitment Fair (WERF)1982 the predecessor to modern WECAN. He was also president of Phi Delta Kappa and chairperson of the Fullbright Teacher Exchange Commission which benefitted thousands of teachers through his involvement. 

Tom had a passion for golf, including a hole-in-one at Hawk’s Landing on #4 in 2004 and one in Florida.  He enjoyed reading and had a great love for music. Tom loved spending his winters in Florida and longed to get well enough to return.

Tom is survived and deeply missed by family and friends.  His loving wife of 52 years, Jette Kelley; Lea Schappel of Wind Lake, WI, Michael Kelley of Janesville, WI, and Ann (Corey) Shefchik of Waunakee, WI; grandchildren, Jakob and Elizabeth Schappel, Taylor and Abigail Kelley, and Emeline and Annalise Shefchik; and his nephew, Pat (Mary Ellen) Kelley, of whom he was very fond of.

He was preceded in death by his two brothers, Elmer and Meldon Kelley.

A Memorial Service will be held at 1 pm on Friday, June 28, 2019 at RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 220 Enterprise Drive, Verona, WI.  A visitation will be held at the funeral home from 11 am until the time of service.

A heartfelt thank you to all of those who supported Tom through his prolonged illness. Special recognition and gratitude to SSM Health St. Mary’s, the caring staff at the heart failure clinic and home health,  Fitch-Rona EMS, and Rev Pat Norris who in the end, brought Tom peace. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services

Verona Chapel

220 Enterprise Drive


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